Beyond

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Astro Surf

· Editorial, Travel & Culture · , , , , ,

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Vacation Wear

· Style, Travel & Culture · , , , , , , , , , ,

 

Summer might be winding down, but there are definitely still a few weeks left to savor. And what better way to enjoy the remainder of summer than with a vacation? Maybe you’ve already got something planned, or maybe you’re more of the last-minute type. Regardless, refer to our top vacation destinations, book your flight, and most importantly, pack your bags. And if you’re struggling to figure out what exactly to pack, have no fear; here are just a few style suggestions for both men and women, a cohesive guide to help you curate the perfect wardrobe during your time off. Whether you’re heading to Baja, Greece, the Amalfi Coast, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, or elsewhere, we’ve got you covered. Enjoy!

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UPDATE

· Beyond · ,

As much as I hate injecting my personal life into this site, it goes without saying that it’s been a while since there’s been any new content, which I should probably explain.

My last semester of college was a little bit of a whirlwind. From tons of schoolwork to unnecessary sulking over a breakup to trying to figure out what I’d be doing with my life after graduation, I unfortunately started to put my personal work on the back-burner. However, I did still manage to focus a substantial amount of time, energy, and other resources on creating a print version of some of my favorite projects, Phosphenes (which you can preview and purchase here!). Shortly after, there were finals, followed by graduation and all of the festivities surrounding it. And after that, I dealt with the relatively grueling process of permanently relocating to New York. Then came my sister’s wedding and more things involved in settling in to my new life. So it’s safe to say I’ve been a little busy.

But no more excuses. While I’m still spending a huge portion of my time trying to find more official involvement in the fashion industry, I’m committed to bringing this site back. I’m planning on using the resources I have around me to create exciting new content in the near future while I continue to work towards my goals. Stay tuned for new essays, articles on a variety of subjects, and of course, original fashion and photo stories. And until then, keep enjoying the content that’s up now!

-Scott

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2014: The Year in Review

· Beyond · , , , , ,

And there it went, another year behind us. As always, 2014 was full of major moments in the world of fashion, with some happenings expanding outside of that sphere. From another wave of designer musical chairs to the losses of industry icons, from epic comebacks to a new crop of models to get excited about, let’s take a look back at this wild, unforgettable year.

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Photo by Georgios Zacharioudakis

The Best Vacation Destinations

· Travel & Culture · , , , ,

Whether you’re in New York, London, LA, Paris, or elsewhere, there’s no doubt that you’re itching for an escape after working hard for the larger portion of the summer. So, where to? Is your ideal getaway your time to let loose and party with friends? Or would you rather just lay out on the beach and take it easy? How about a trip to a city you’ve always wanted to see? Sure, some of these suggestions may be no-brainers, and there are plenty more places in the world worth mentioning. Regardless, check out our list of some of the top vacation destinations, and enjoy your time off!

 

 

 

TUSCANY

Photo Courtesy: JaymeBarrett.com

Photo Courtesy: JaymeBarrett.com

A bit of a broad destination, Tuscany encompasses some of Italy’s greatest locations, including Florence, Pisa, and Siena. And just as you’d expect, there are limitless options for wine tours, mind-blowing cuisine, and shopping. Whether you’d prefer to dive into one of the region’s urban centers, or if you’d rather explore the rolling hills and olive groves in the more rural spots, the options are endless for making this your ideal vacation.

Where to stay: Relais Borgo Santo Pietro (Siena)

 

CINQUE TERRE

Photo Courtesy: RedBubble

Photo Courtesy: RedBubble

Still feeling Italy but more into a trip to the Riviera? Hit up Cinque Terre, one of the hottest new spots in the Mediterranean. Cinque Terre is full of things to see, specifically the vibrantly colored houses that line the multifaceted terrain (hence the name). Hiking is the thing to do, while the crystal clear, bright blue water is basically begging to be swam in. And of course, food and drink is essential for your visit.

Where to stay: Porto Roca

SEYCHELLES

Photo Courtesy: Simply Travel

Photo Courtesy: Simply Travel

In this archipelago off of Africa’s eastern coast, Praslin Island is definitely the place to be. Real talk, there isn’t much more to do here than exploring the beaches and the landscape. But with lush vegetation, white sand, and turquoise water, what more could you really want? Rated one of the world’s best beaches by several different travel sites, Anse Lazio is literally a real-life postcard that’s definitely worth visiting.

Where to stay: Raffles Praslin (Anse Takamaka, Praslin Island)

BRAZIL

Photo Courtesy: Planet Den

Photo Courtesy: Planet Den

Yes, Brazil is a huge country that’s full of things to do, so this is just another generalization. But if you’ve got enough time, definitely check out everything that the country has to offer. With the hype from the World Cup finally dying down, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are now back to their regular status as huge centers for nightlife, food, music, culture, and much, much more. And let’s not forget about the state of Bahia, specifically Salvador, which is teeming with fascinating history. If you do anything during this trip, you’ve got to stop by Baia do Sancho in Fernando de Noronha, arguably the best beach in the world.

Where to stay: Pousada Teju-Acu (Estrada da Alamoa, Fernando de Noronha, State of Pernambuco)

GREECE

Photo by Georgios Zacharioudakis

Photo by Georgios Zacharioudakis

Look through your Instagram feed, and you’re guaranteed to see lots of posts from somewhere in Greece. Whether your friends are exploring their touristy sides in Athens or partying the night away in Mykonos, it’s pretty much clear that you’ve got to get in on the action. But maybe try something different and hit up Elafonissi Beach on the small island of Elafonissi, where seashells give sand a pinkish tint to compliment the vivid water.

Where to stay: Hotel Nikolas Makris Tihos (Elafonissi)

 

KAAFU ATOLL

Photo Courtesy: MyBoutiqueHotel.com

Photo Courtesy: MyBoutiqueHotel.com

When it comes to the Maldives, there’s just about no way to go wrong. But to be specific, Kaafu Atoll is a literal paradise. As secluded as possible with dreamlike beaches, there’s nothing better than simply relaxing by the water with a drink in hand. This is definitely a luxury destination, but after lots of hard work, you deserve it.

Where to stay: Cocoa Island by COMO

LANIKAI BEACH

Photo Courtesy: TravelSort

Photo Courtesy: TravelSort

It goes without saying that Hawaii is always at the top of people’s lists, but it doesn’t get much better than Lanikai Beach. Located in a secluded neighborhood in Kailua, Oahu, the beach stays pristine all year round, with limitless options for cultural and natural exploration. Lanikai Beach is a little more difficult to find than most other spots in Oahu, especially with the lack of hotels in Kailua, but the various inns and B&B’s are sure to make travelers feel at home. And despite Hawaii’s geographic distance, it’s a relatively easy trip for all of the American travelers out there. It could easily be everyone’s new favorite spot.

Where to stay: The Hula Breeze (Kailua, Oahu)

 

BARCELONA

Photo by Scott Shapiro

Photo by Scott Shapiro

Like most of the other European destinations on this list, Barcelona has so, so much to offer. Putting the expansive city right on the beach makes it perfect for those who want a little more activity besides just laying out and relaxing. Sure, that’s definitely a viable option. But if that gets boring, the endless shopping, art, music, food, and other entertainment outlets are just blocks away. Maybe it’s not Paris or Milan, but Barça’s still a top-tier fashion capital, informed by the creativity seen on every corner. Tourist attractions like Parc Güell and Sagrada Família are definitely worth the crowds, too. Meanwhile, the city’s nightlife is like none other, with some of the world’s best nightclubs lining the beautiful beaches. If you’re doing Barça, definitely stay for a while.

Where to stay: Hotel Arts Barcelona

PROVIDENCIALES

Photo Courtesy: Caribique Villa

Photo Courtesy: Caribique Villa

Although the nightlife and shopping options aren’t as expansive, who could want anything more than a spectrum of blue water and powdery sand beaches that define the Turks & Caicos capital? Grace Bay is often ranked another one of the world’s best beaches, and it should come as no surprise; places like this are what fantasies are made of.

Where to stay: The Venetian on Grace Bay

KENYA

Photo by Scott Shapiro

Photo by Scott Shapiro

As proven by our experience in Kenya last summer, this is another place that you’ll need to set aside a lot of time for. From the bustling hub of Nairobi to the incredibly lush Naivasha, there’s an incredible amount of things to see and do. Sure, going on safari is always a necessity, which is perfect to do in Amboseli. But wildlife can pop up nearly anywhere, making this East African gem one of the most dynamic and exciting spots in the world. And if you’re just looking for some beach time, definitely go to Diani in Mombasa or Malindi right along the Indian Ocean; the serene beaches are stunning enough to rival many of the other destinations on this list. Again, definitely make some room in your schedule for this trip. You won’t regret it.

Where to stay: Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort & Spa (Mombasa)

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Paris, with Love

· Beyond · , , , ,

No amount of time in Paris could ever be enough. Being able to return for the spring/summer 2015 menswear shows – a surprise opportunity that came at the very last minute – was an incredible blessing, and the amount of personal and professional growth that came from just one week was phenomenal. There wasn’t nearly enough time for photo shoots or exploration or other projects. However, the shows weren’t the only sources of motivation and inspiration; simply being in Paris is the type of experience that gives you life.

Who knows when Des Phosphènes will be back in the City of Lights? But as last week has shown, sometimes the most amazing things can happen when you least expect it.

Feature photo by Scott Shapiro

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One Year of Des Phosphènes!

· Beyond · , , , ,

It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year. Initially nothing more than a casual hobby, Des Phosphènes has evolved into a multifaceted fashion website that’s become an important part of my life. What started one year ago as a relatively disorganized jumble of thoughts is now a coordinated series of creative expressions. From in-depth articles to original editorial spreads, from runway coverage to trend reports, I’m extremely proud of the dedication I’ve channeled into this formerly small project. Most importantly, my work for Des Phosphènes has shown a portfolio of my potential abilities, leading to internships, access to various fashion shows and industry events and other professional advances.

Maybe it would be a little strange to call this a milestone, as this is still constantly developing. But I can’t help but reflect on where I’ve come from and where it’s taken me, and I’ve got to acknowledge some of my proudest pieces of work since starting this website a year ago.

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The Paris Editorial Series

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Easily the biggest stride that Des Phosphènes took was in the time I spent in Paris. Of course, the City of Lights’ undeniable beauty couldn’t go unnoticed, translated through a series of original editorials. Whether the eerie “Éternité,” eccentric “Une surcharge sensorielle” or more simple themes shown in “Le Garçon” or “Ce n’est que le début,” the inspirational settings found in every corner of Paris worked to create copious beauty.

Sirène

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An earlier sample of my independent editorial projects, “Sirène” features one of my first photography experiences. Taking a dark, mermaid-inspired twist on a typical swimwear spread, the final product aimed to convey a sense of understated strength.

Contrast in Wonderland

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There have been plenty of editorial pieces within the past year, and each one shows another level of growth from the last. While “Contrast in Wonderland” was far from perfect, it presented a solid early example of my styling skills; this spread was the first of mine to feature multiple looks and an deeper creative concept.

Nocturne

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Although the first original editorial for Des Phosphènes wasn’t very much about the styling or theme, “Nocturne” was the end result of a random burst of creativity after a long night out. The most captivating element of this piece is how something so completely unplanned can turn out so well.

Paris Fashion Week Diary

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During my first real Fashion Week experience, I was definitely a little starstruck in multiple different ways. Sure, it takes a little more to truly inspire me these days, but the contagious energy of Paris Fashion Week is something that needs to be shared.

The Fall 2014 Menswear Reviews

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I’m extremely proud of how much more experience I was given in attending and reporting on several of the fall 2014 menswear shows, expanding my writing skills and receiving the opportunity to witness some of the collections firsthand. More importantly, being admitted into these presentations marked one of the first points that my hard work paid off, as I am still incredibly grateful to have proven my professionalism and competence in the fashion world.

Thoughts

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Creating, styling and executing an editorial concept is arguably my favorite activity when it comes to fashion. However, I’ve got a lot on my mind that I’d like to share regarding some of the hottest topics in the world of la mode. It’s extremely important for me to be able to adequately communicate a thought or opinion, always providing another hopefully profound perspective on often provocative issues. Attacking an arguable presence of racism and the controversy surrounding underaged girls in the modeling industry, while also acknowledging the obscene expenses of luxury goods and the chaotic impact of the street style fad, I never feel truly satisfied unless I’m providing in-depth, thoughtful commentary on these important subjects.

Style Tips

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A less serious style of writing, my style tips serve as something of an unwarranted advice column. Sometimes a little bit caustic, but always with reason, these articles are meant to provide insight to improving and perfecting personal style through a conversational, humorous tone of voice. I’ve kept it general with on of my earlier pieces, while I also emphasized important things to take note of during the summertime. Unfortunately, these type of articles don’t appear as frequently, but they’re definitely some of the most enjoyable to write.

Hyperluxe

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“Hyperluxe” is the most recent editorial spread up to this point. Its message implies that a series of beautiful photos don’t always have to carry a crazy, over-the-top theme. Instead, I was more focused on conveying the essence of luxury. With one of the most beautiful models featured so far and photos by the always-impressive Jackie Robertson, the piece shows a substantial level of growth in terms of styling, editing and executing a project. Most importantly, it holds an important element of ambition to continue this type of improvement in future spreads.

Wish You Were Here

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Originally, this piece’s only intention was to convey the same space used in the production of “Hyperluxe” in a totally different way. Well, that was definitely achieved. Through collaboration with the photographer, Rachel Vazquez, we developed a darker, more suggestive idea. The end result was probably the raciest photo project on Des Phosphènes so far. Everyone loves something a little provocative, right?

The Ultimate Guide to Paris

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Written on the eve of the fall 2014 ready-to-wear shows in Paris, this article presented the most profound travel piece I’ve written so far. Teeming with suggestions for culture, nightlife and of course, fashion, this guide shared some of the greatest things that the greatest city has to offer. Most notably, it shares my immeasurable love for the City of Lights.

Legendary

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Maybe my article in honor of the iconic work of Erwin Blumenfeld wasn’t something that excessively stuck out to readers. But his art and photography is some of the most important material in what has shaped today’s fashion images. It’s truly moving to see some of these inspirational masterpieces that were so ahead of their time, and Blumenfeld’s photos serve as some of the most influential images in the world of fashion.

Doré

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Towards the end of my time in Paris, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. I couldn’t imagine leaving such a remarkable place, yet I couldn’t find the concentration to structure or organize what I wanted to see or do. Instead, I threw my hands in the air and just let it be, freely running around the city and taking in all of the inconceivable beauty that surrounded me. That feeling was reflected in “Doré,” showing the best type of insanity in the most beautiful city on the planet. From day to night, we tried to convey the sense of disbelief regarding Paris’ magic and charm, all coated in gold.

Homme 2014

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The amazing photographer, Boutayna Fartale and I spent a decent amount of time planning an editorial project together before bringing our exceptionally impressive model and a selection of sharp, sleek Dior Homme garments to Paris’ ultra-modern La Défense region. Not only are the photos impressive, as Boutayna’s work always is, but this was one of the most enjoyable pieces to style. Nothing gets me like minimalist clothing and a futuristic cityscape, and the message of modernity fit appropriately in my favorite menswear editorial – and one of my favorite editorials in general – that I’ve done so far.

Kenya

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I spent a few weeks of my last summer working with the incredible team at Matonyok Designs in Nairobi, Kenya. I knew that my trip would be an unbelievable, life-changing experience, but it’s still impossible to explain how I truly felt. Everything from the landscape to the culture was beautiful in a way that I’d never seen before. While this could’ve easily created some impressive editorial pieces, and although the city of Nairobi has a lot more to offer with fashion than you might think, it was more important to me to simply take this all in. Not everything has to be work or a project of some sort, and my experience in Kenya taught me to simply accept and appreciate the present moment more than I had in the past.

Trend Reports

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What would a fashion website be without acknowledging trends? Following every single collection during every runway season, I try my best to piece together all of the ideas and themes running through the different shows, and I attempt to create cohesive, informative reports on what’s hot in the fashion world.

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Sure, Des Phosphènes hasn’t quite acquired the same immense audience as a lot of other fashion sites, even after an entire year. However, as I mentioned before, the amount of respect, recognition and professional advances that my work has provided me with is more valuable than any sort of “Internet fame.” Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far, whether avidly following my work, investing in the potential I’ve presented through said work or simply taking interest in what I have to share. This is just the beginning.

All photos in this article via linked articles

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The Ultimate Guide to Paris

· Inspiration, Shopping Guides, Travel & Culture · , , , , , , ,

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With Paris Fashion Week right around the corner, the City of Lights is on plenty of people’s minds. Sure, we’re looking forward to Fashion Month’s grand finale, including Nicolas Ghesquière’s comeback with his first collection for Louis Vuitton, the always-anticipated work by Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy and more stunning presentations from some of the world’s elite design experts. But there’s much more to be seen in this iconic city than just a few runway shows. Whether you’re a front row regular, a newbie fighting to make it into the standing section or simply someone taking in the abundant beauty, here’s your guide to navigating Paris.

Getting There and Getting Around:

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If you’ve been at it since New York Fashion Week, your bags are probably already packed. If not, pack accordingly. While this doesn’t mean striped crew-neck sweaters and berets (please, don’t), plenty of versatile black garments, stylish scarves, sharp outerwear and fresh footwear will serve as a solid base to the “Parisian chic” sensibility. Some smart tips would be to bring a pickpocket-proof bag, as theft is an unfortunate possibility, and of course, bring a few standout statement pieces to get in on the Fashion Week festivities.

Transportation is definitely an essential for Paris Fashion Week, and while some people are lucky enough to have a driver cart them around to all of the shows, many will have to rely on the cities resources to get from A to B (and everywhere in between). Boasting one of the best transportation systems in the world, the RATP’s Metro, RER, bus and tram lines will surely get you wherever you need to go, so don’t hesitate to pick up a Navigo or carnet. If you do choose the taxi route…don’t. Trying to get a cab is borderline torturous, wasting precious time and potentially missing shows. Instead, set aside some extra euros for the Uber app, which seems more efficient in Paris than many other cities. And if all else fails, the city is small enough to make walking a somewhat reasonable option. If you have the time, you’ll definitely be treated by the ubiquitous beauty at every corner along the way.

For any last-minute hotel plans, it’s always best to avoid the wild tourist traps. Why not treat yourself and go the luxury route? Easily one of the most elite would be Hôtel Costes, situated right on the high-end Rue Saint Honoré in Paris’ 1er arrondissement. The lavish lodging features a restaurant, bar, florist, perfume boutique and more. For something a little more “off the beaten path,” check out Hôtel Amour, the epitome of “Parisian cool.” A diamond in the rough, located in the stereotypically seedy Pigalle neighborhood, this spot features a delicious restaurant on a picturesque terrace and painfully chic chambres.

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Sightseeing and Museums:

Les Catacombes de Paris

Not only is it the fashion capital of the world, but Paris is also the home to some of the world’s best artwork. While museums like the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay and the Centre Pompidou earned their fame for a reason, it never hurts to switch it up a bit. Tucked away in Montmartre is the impressive Espace Dali, showing several of Salvador Dali’s sketches and sculptures. The Palais de Tokyo in the 16e arrondissement is a unique and provocative modern art museum where one can expect to see the unexpected, too. If the Jardin des Tuileries doesn’t impress you, head over to the far corner of the gardens and check out the Musée de l’Orangerie, which holds Monet’s iconic water lilies alongside other incomprehensibly fantastic art.

And while the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe are all must-see landmarks, you won’t have trouble finding them during a casual stroll, and there’s really no need to climb them. Instead, opt for the Grande Arche of La Défense, the centerpiece of the ultra-modern commerce district just to the west of the city limits. The Catacombes de Paris are also an astonishing experience, while you can keep up your grim pleasures with a visit to Père Lachaise, the enormous cemetery that hosts Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf and more. If it’s a church you seek, there’s no shortage of those, either. Right by Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle trumps its more famous neighbor, noted by mind-boggling, kaleidoscopic stained glass. Overall, Paris is the type of city where you can literally stumble upon beauty and inspiration at any second, making it exponentially easier to find another captivating landmark or exhibition.

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À Manger:

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Let’s not forget about French cuisine. You could walk into any brasserie and get a perfectly done croque monsieur (or madame), satisfy your post-night-out cravings with a 4am crêpe or indulge in macarons so pretty you almost don’t want to eat them…almost. But if we absolutely have to talk about a few standout places, then Paris has definitely got those, too.

Les Deux Abeilles is one option, located in the 7e right near the Eiffel Tower, while Restaurant le Châteaubriand and its neighbor/sibling spot, Le Dauphin are also great bets. If you choose to stop by the Palais de Tokyo, why not grab a bite to eat at the trendy, Kris Van Assche-endorsed Monsieur Bleu? Le Schmuck is yet another fantastic restaurant, and it’s nothing like its name suggests; high-quality dishes and superb ambience confirm this place’s undeniable 6e arrondissement sophistication. But hey, who says these are all the best Paris has to offer? Like previously mentioned, this town is home to some of the best cuisine on the planet, which is noticeable just about everywhere.

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Casual Cafés:

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Not everyone likes to do their meals big, and not everyone wants to go out on the town for a drink. For that, there are great options for low-key boissons and conversations with friends. Despite its historical prevalence and reputation as a Parisian hotspot, Les Deux Magots is still a perfect place to grab arguably the best coffee in the entire city. For something a little out of the ordinary, Toraya is one of the oldest Japanese patisseries. Definitely try their to-die-for green tea hot chocolate. For an immaculate wine selection in an intimate setting, head straight to La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, which also has amazing champagne and exceptional tapas.

After Dark:

Silencio

It’s no New York or Barcelona, but Paris likes to party. And during Fashion Week, that’s exponentially more noticeable. While the City of Lights has the tendency to lean on the more selective side, there’s no shortage of hotspots. The go-to venues for the fashion crowd tend to be Le Montana, Le Carmen, Le Baron and of course, Silencio. Meanwhile, Derrière and Le Tango are a couple underrated favorites.

Le Carmen

Shopping, Shopping, Shopping:

Okay, where does one even begin when it comes to Paris’ shopping? This might as well be a guide of its own, as the fashion capital of the world is, by default, the shopping capital of the world. Let’s break it down piece by piece, focusing a bit on some of the best neighborhoods to get your own personal slice of Parisian chic.

Passy (Metro: Passy)

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Start off in the 16e arrondissement, the peaceful, upscale quarter of Paris that embodies all of the dreams you’ve had of picturesque streets and authentic French culture. Of course, such a sophisticated area is bound to have some great shopping finds. Passy is a go-to neighborhood, featuring any major chain retailer you could imagine next to some of the most astonishing boutiques. While vintage isn’t Passy’s strong point, any second-time-around pieces you might find would only be the highest quality Chanel, Dior, Lanvin or other A-list Parisian labels. A postcard glimpse of the Eiffel Tower in between stores doesn’t quite hurt, either.

George V-Montaigne (Metro: George V; Alma-Marceau)

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If Passy’s luxury finds don’t do the trick, George V and parallel Avenue Montaigne aren’t too far away. With the same beautiful scenery, old-fashioned buildings and fairytale-like cobblestone streets, this little area is home to some of Paris’ top maisons. For goods from the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier, Valentino, Chloé and many, many more, this area will definitely have what you seek.

Champs Élysées (Metro: Champs Élysées-Clemenceau; Franklin D. Roosevelt; George V; Charles de Gaulle-Étoile)

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Just behind the quaint George V-Montaigne area is the hyper-famous Champs Élysées. It’s substantially less secluded than the former; you’ll be navigating through immense crowds of tourists along this celebrated street, which is finalized by the Arc de Triomphe in all its grandeur. However, there’s something enticing about the juxtaposition of commercial labels like H&M and Zara with luxury giants like Louis Vuitton. Whether or not you’ll find an adequate piece of Paris fashion is debatable, but you can’t leave Paris without stopping by the Champs Élysées.

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Saint-Honoré, Vendôme, Madeleine and more (Metro: Concorde; Tuileries; Madeleine)

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The entirety of the 1er arrondissement is like shopping heaven, set in possibly the most dreamlike area imaginable. Sure, it’s still a little touristy, as the Louvre and the Musée de l’Orangerie are both right down the street. Yet the unlimited supply of acclaimed retailers is unbeatable. Rue Saint-Honoré – which holds Balenciaga, Givenchy, Sandro, Saint Laurent, Hôtel Costes, Colette and countless other beautiful boutiques – runs directly into Place Vendôme, the drop-dead-gorgeous square that’s lined with hotels, restaurants and jewelers. The Marché Saint-Honoré offers a selection of spectacular eateries, too, all perfect for a quick break during what could easily be an all-day affair. Walk just a bit further, and you’ll be in the Madeleine neighborhood, which makes it seem as if shopping heaven will never end.

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Haussmann (Metro: Opéra; Chaussée d’Antin-La Fayette; Auber; Havre-Caumartin)

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And who says it has to end? Though the Grands Magasins on Boulevard Haussmann are virtually surrounded by Metro stations, you could easily walk from Madeleine after embarking on the previously suggested shopping excursion. If you crave the convenience of a department store, Haussmann is all about that, with Galeries Lafayette and Printemps right next to each other. And department store is putting it lightly, as both shops are like nothing you could ever imagine. Each one features separate stores of equal inventory for men, as well as beauty products, ready-to-wear, shoes, handbags, jewelry and more under one roof. And that’s not all. Lafayette Gourmet serves as a grocery store of sorts, only with the highest quality products around. Meanwhile, Brasserie Printemps next door offers a selection for more of a sit-down meal, all under an incredible stained-glass dome. Oh, Galeries Lafayette has one of those beautiful domes, too, don’t worry. Shoppers can even stop by the salon at the top of Printemps if they’d like to get pampered in between trying on all of those international designer outfits, and to top it all off, both retailers offer a 12% tax refund to foreigners. Yes, it’s a little overwhelming, and breaking down on the floor and crying tears of joy is a possibility.

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Le Marais (Metro: Saint-Paul, Hôtel de Ville; Filles du Calvaire)

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A vibrant neighborhood with even more history and culture, Le Marais spans between both the 3e and 4e arrondissements. Sure, there are some high-end designer boutiques, but it’s the world-renowned vintage shops and jaw-dropping art galleries that really set this area apart from the rest. Verging on the hipster side, Le Marais is quickly reinventing a modern idea of Parisian cool, with a lively youth culture and eclectic sense of style. You can find one-of-a-kind stores like the Broken Arm or Les Vignoles for those items that will have your friends back home feeling insanely jealous, while the expressive, fun neighborhood is home to plenty of places made cool simply by their appearances. A historically Jewish neighborhood, Le Marais is one of the very few places in Paris that you’ll find things open on a Sunday, which will definitely come in handy for your day-off shopping, dining or art-hunting desires.

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Saint-Germain-des-Près (Metro: Saint-Germain-des-Près; Rue du Bac; Sèvres-Babylone)

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It doesn’t get more “Parisian chic” than this. The quaint neighborhood that embodies Rive Gauche style is home to even more high-end designer boutiques, including Karl Lagerfeld, Alexis Mabille, Sonia Rykiel and just about any others you can think of. Though not as off-the-beaten-path as some of the side streets in Le Marais, Saint Germain is far more peaceful than many other overcrowded Parisian shopping districts. Le Bon Marché is a fantastic alternative to the department stores on Boulevard Haussmann, featuring an incredible inventory in a less chaotic environment. With tons of authentic French cuisine and cultured, educated inhabitants, it’s not hard to feel at home when finding your new favorite outfit.

Okay, so maybe it will be a little hard to find time for even half of these things during the rush of Paris Fashion Week. But there’s still so much more to mention in this incredible city, as beauty, art, fashion and inspiration all pop up just about everywhere. Keep these things in mind during your next visit to the City of Lights, whether you’re attending fashion shows or simply wandering around. Enjoy!

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All photos in this article by Scott Shapiro

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London Calling

· Travel & Culture · , , , , , , , ,

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After the flurry – and flurries – of New York Fashion Week, Fashion Month is moving forward. Next stop: London, the city known for harvesting some of the freshest and most captivating new talent. We have to start by addressing the pink elephant in the room, that being London’s slightly lower popularity level in comparison to New York, Milan and Paris in terms of big-name designers’ collections. But London’s fashion industry is definitely a force to be reckoned with, presenting work from established names like Tom Ford and Burberry Prorsum alongside underrated experts like Mary Katrantzou and Roksanda Ilincic.

While the continuation of this month-long fashion festival is sure to bring even more exciting trends and concepts, London’s skilled designers have the tendency to march to the beat of their own drummer, and we couldn’t be happier. British menswear is noted for the implementation and mastery of bespoke tailoring via Savile Row, but don’t think that’s limited to just the guys. With such an immense influence on the practice of creating garments, there’s a reason London is one of the “Big Four” fashion capitals of the world.

While the next few days are all about London’s best fall 2014 ready-to-wear collections, hosting a Fashion Week in one of the world’s most incredible cities opens the doors for limitless things to experience off the runway.

Left to Right: Courtesy Shoreditch House, Courtesy Scott's Restaurant

Left to Right: Courtesy Shoreditch House, Courtesy Scott’s Restaurant

A members-only lounge like Paris’ Silencio, The Shoreditch House is a perfect meeting place to gather with coworkers or friends. Though less clubby than its French counterpart, the upscale atmosphere provides a relaxing space for food and drinks in the midst of the Fashion Week madness. Meanwhile, Shoreditch is quickly becoming one of London’s hippest neighborhoods. But if you’re in the mood for a bigger meal, stop by Scott’s Restaurant over in the beautiful Mayfair district, where you can get a high-quality version of the classically English fish and chips. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with getting a little touristy.

Left to Right: Getty Images, Getty Images, Courtesy Hale Clinic

Left to Right: Getty Images, Getty Images, Courtesy Hale Clinic

Why not compliment your touristy meal with some more sightseeing? Though it’s impossible to go into detail about every single artistic and cultural element that London has to offer, it never hurts to start with a couple great museum visits. Tate Modern is a great option for those who prefer contemporary art, located across the river in Southeast London. Meanwhile, the Victoria & Albert Museum in the coveted Kensington neighborhood provides everything from a David Bowie retrospective to archaeologic exhibitions. And if your inevitably extensive time at the V&A leaves you feeling a little exhausted, you can stay on the west side of London when visiting the Hale Clinic, a great place for any holistic healthcare from detox to acupuncture.

Left to Right: Getty Images, Courtesy Celestine Eleven

Left to Right: Getty Images, Courtesy Celestine Eleven

Despite all of these suggestions, let’s not forget that we’re still in one of the world’s fashion capitals. And what would a fashion capital be without shopping? Selfridges is always a good idea, while the department store’s personal shopping suite makes the process of navigating through the dreamlike selection of fashion goods exponentially less hectic. You can always stop by the Hale Clinic again afterwards, but it’s probably a better idea to reduce your stress as much as possible during Fashion Week. Though a bit on the pricey side, a two-hour consultation with Selfridges’ specially trained personal shoppers will have you feeling like the best dressed at London Fashion Week. If the big bad department store doesn’t do the trick for you, try Celestine Eleven, a boutique that’s more manageable without sacrificing an extensive inventory. Sorry, guys, but this place only features womenswear. However, this womenswear comes from some of the best luxury designers, while Celestine Eleven also carries home goods and more holistic products within a peaceful environment.

There’s much, much more to be seen during a trip to London, but when negotiating with the madness of Fashion Week, this will surely be a start. Of course, all of the endless excitement throughout London does nothing but help to inform the stunning and inspirational designs we’ll be seeing over the course of London Fashion Week. Enjoy!

All information courtesy of #TheList at Harper‘s Bazaar by Yasmin Sewell

Feature photo by me

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Au Revoir

· Inspiration, Thoughts, Travel & Culture · , , , ,

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After an amazing experience in Paris, our time has come to a close. Of course, leaving such a beautiful, historical, inspirational and iconic city is heartbreaking, but Des Phosphènes wouldn’t be half as developed as it’s become if this incredible experience hadn’t taken place.

On a professional level, the inevitable involvement in the world’s most elite fashion industry has opened several doors. The initial introduction to the beautiful chaos that is Paris Fashion Week provided the knowledge and motivation that allowed our firsthand coverage of the fall 2014 menswear shows. Meanwhile, the stunning scenery that makes up every inch of the City of Lights helped create the Paris Editorial Series, which consisted of several projects that became defining elements of this site. Though we didn’t necessarily skyrocket to the top of the fashion industry, thanks to Paris, there has been more progress than ever before.

Never before have I fallen so deeply in love with a city, and I’m extremely thankful for all that Paris has given me. Although I’ve already commented on how much Paris has touched me, nothing could ever adequately explain how magical this city truly is. I can’t wait for the next opportunity to return to this dreamlike experience.

Paris, je t’aime et à bientôt!

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All photos in this article by Scott Shapiro